Gallagher v. Town of Fairfield
Art Teacher Alleged Disability Discrimination And Retaliation
Civil Procedure | Statute of Limitations | Labor and Employment | Discrimination | Disability Discrimination
- U.S. District Court
- U.S. District Court
- Mar 27 2013 (Date Decided)
- Squatrito, J.
A worker may be required to file disability discrimination and retaliation claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the alleged act, pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Allegedly, the plaintiff, an elementary school art teacher, worked in a classroom that suffered from water damage. The board of education allegedly arranged to install an air cleaner that was contaminated. The plaintiff alleged that when she continued to complain about the air quality, she was subjected to retaliation and discharge. The plaintiff sued the board of education and alleged it failed to accommodate her disability, retaliated and discriminated on the basis of disability, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The board of education moved to dismiss in part on the basis that the plaintiff failed to file timely complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, within 300 days. The defendant argued that any alleged acts that took place prior to June 1, 2010 should not be considered. The plaintiff objected that her complaint also stated a claim for retaliatory hostile-work environment, in violation of the ADA. "[D]iscrete discriminatory acts are not actionable if time barred, even when they are related to acts alleged in timely filed charges," pursuant to National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, a 2002 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The District Court found that allegations about conduct that took place prior to June 1, 2010 could qualify as background evidence, in support of timely claims. The court dismissed the plaintiff's allegations of failure to accommodate and disability discrimination, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, other than the plaintiff's claim she was discharged. The court also dismissed allegations of retaliation in response to requests for accommodation, other than the plaintiff's claim she was discharged. The plaintiff failed to allege a cause of action for hostile-work environment, in violation of the ADA. Counts alleging disability discrimination and retaliation in response to requests for accommodation in connection with the plaintiff's discharge survived.